Life Drawing

9 of 90
Life Drawing
256 pages; Random House
In this gripping debut novel, narrator Augusta "Gus" Edelman, a 47-year-old painter, retraces the events leading up to the death of her husband, Owen. For the past three years, Gus and Owen have been living in rural Pennsylvania, with only each other as company, still struggling with their respective art forms (Owen is a writer) and the aftermath of Gus's previous affair. When Alison Hemmings, another painter, moves into the only nearby house, the couple's delicately-managed d├ętente is upset in ways that they are helpless to foresee or forestall. The power of this story is how it illuminates, in utterly compelling detail, the complex give-and-take of a couple trying to save their marriage once betrayal has entered the picture. In the end, as Gus realizes, "...for all the little things over which we have some control, for the most part we have none." A searing, authentic exploration of how we wield the dangerous weapon of honesty and manage our debts to those we love.
— Susan Welsh